CNN reports that on Wednesday, April 15th, President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan, with the intention of doing so by September 11th, 2021.
"War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking," stated Biden, speaking from the White House Treaty Room. "We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it's time to end the forever war."
Tom Brenner/Getty ImagesAs per CNN's report, over 2,300 US troops have died during the conflict, which has been declared the longest war in American history. It has reportedly cost the country over two trillion dollars.
From the sound of it, Biden's deadline is unwavering, regardless of whether or not new developments arise. "We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result," he explained. "I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth."
"We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago," Biden added. "That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021. Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us."
Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesWhile Biden himself deemed the decision to be "absolutely clear," it was not met with universal agreement among his team. CNN names Gen. Mark Milley, who opposed Biden's withdrawal plan over concerns that Kabul's government would risk collapsing as a result, as well as fears that women's rights would be jeopardized. Though assessments indicate that the conflict between the Taliban and the Afghan government would continue, Biden presented a counter:
"We gave that argument a decade. It's never proved effective. Not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we're down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm's way, US boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries."For those interested in hearing Biden's complete speech on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, it has been embedded below.